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average rating is 3 out of 5


Patrick Foley


Posted on:

Jan 7, 2023

Film Reviews
Directed by:
Shourya Kumar Lal
Written by:
Shourya Kumar Lal
Jiya Giri, Pakhi Pundeer, Charles Kantilal Patel

Young love and classic teen drama is abound in Hindi-language short Canteen by director Shourya Kumar Lal, a charming film that outperforms its small budget to encapsulate the classic emotional beats of coming-of-age romances.


A young man (Shourya Kumar Lal) is smitten by an unknown girl (Jiya Giri) who attends his college. Along with his best friend (Charles Kantilal Patel), he conducts a plan to find himself in her vicinity, in order to try and sweep her off her feet. Over tea and coffee (and some back and forth flirting) the pair begin to bond and romance blossoms. But the predictable trials of teen love come to test them, as the pair ponder over whether they are to pursue a relationship.


Canteen echoes contemporary coming-of-age movies such as Easy A in capturing the vibrancy, excitement, nervousness and humour that comes with love on the verge of adulthood. Based in a college setting (with key scenes occurring, unsurprisingly, in the canteen…), director Shourya Kumar Lal frames shots cleverly to enlarge the characters rather middling surroundings to feel overpowering, overwhelming and exciting – as is often felt in reality when we embark on new, defining chapters of our lives. The colour scheme of the film is lively and rich, to match the lead character’s enthusiasm for their new-found college freedom – as well as the sparks the characters feel for one another. Viewers will practically feel the late-summer breeze thanks to the director’s abilities in framing a scene, and be transported to their own love-drunk summer days.


Shourya Kumar Lal excels in the lead role, bringing a quiet confidence and swagger that still manages to be offset by nervous vulnerability and risk as he tries to woo Jiya Giri’s leading lady. The pair have a wonderful chemistry, and the back-and-forth between the pair has a genuine feel of an awkward teen romance that could misfire as easily as it could blossom. Simple scenes such as discussions over coffee are emoted brilliantly to ensure stakes are input and clear to the audience, who will root for the couple to navigate those early challenges.


For a lower-budget short film, there is a lot to admire in Canteen. Whilst naturally contained by some of its limitations, it manages to build strong and likeable characters and imbue a crucial mood of excitement and intoxication in its production that entices its audience to embrace its tone with open arms.

About the Film Critic
Patrick Foley
Patrick Foley
Digital / DVD Release, Short Film, World Cinema
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